Hashtag: Six Ways Journalism Students Can Use Twitter Better
1) Don’t follow everyone and anyone. While the whole ‘follow me and I’ll follow you back’ thing is good to boost your followers, what you’re really looking for is quality over quantity. There’s no sense following a guy who only tweets once a month about his cat, let alone that hot Scandinavian journalist who only writes in Finnish.
2) If you’re live-tweeting, don’t quote everything that someone is saying. Unless you have eight digits on your left hand it’s unlikely you’ll keep up. Be selective when you quote – choose the most newsworthy pieces of dialogue to publish. Paraphrase if you have to. Besides, you’re not Latika Burke. Ain’t nobody got time for that.
3) Use hashtags appropriately. Hashtags aren’t always used for ironic purposes – they help people find your tweets among all the crap that exists out there. Popular examples include #auspol and #media. A tweet is good because of its content, not the amount of hashtags you can squeeze into 140 characters.
If you’re breaking news, or covering an event, include a photograph in your tweet. Scrolling through an endless stream of text can be boring, and people like to look at photographs. It gives them the sense that they are actually there. Another good reason to include a photo is that it makes your tweet larger, thereby making it stand out in the crowd.
5) Try to be funny and original, or at the very least try not to be serious all the time. You’re writing for social media not The Australian. Casually joke around with your idols, but don’t be too stalkerish. And don’t get depressed if Justin Bieber doesn’t retweet you (it probably wasn’t a good tweet anyway).
6) Write a good bio. This may seem like a silly point to end on, but it makes all the difference. Your bio is kind of like a billboard at a truck stop (except you can’t flash your boobs to get people’s attention). Be informative, be witty. Just don’t tell me your tweets are the intellectual property of your deceased cat.